Humans are social animals, formed by evolution and culture to live together with others in society.
For society to function, it needs norms, laws and regulations. As society changes, these need always to be open to challenge and updating as the result of an ongoing ethical conversation and rational debate.
Democracy, which is founded on the principle of the equal value, dignity, and right to participate of every individual, is a humanist way of organizing that conversation and debate.
As humanists, we maintain that democracy should be a fundamental value upheld and protected by all societies and governments. Everyone should be heard with equal dignity and respect, and the democratic process provides a framework for ensuring that this principle is upheld in practice. It guarantees that there can be no legitimate government anywhere without the fully informed consent and participation of those being governed.
Democracy is not just a political process. With its emphasis on equality and participation, democracy is a powerful tool for the realization of social justice, human dignity, and the common good.
Democracy is not a static situation. It is a dynamic process that requires constant engagement, informed participation, and adjustment.
Democracy is not the tyranny of the majority. It must go together with human rights protections, the rule of law, and a commitment to social progress.
In light of these principles, we affirm the following:
We commit ourselves to working for a more democratic world.
We call on all governments, institutions, and individuals to uphold and protect democratic values as a cornerstone of human dignity, justice, and freedom.
We call on all humanists around the world to stand in solidarity with those who are struggling to defend and promote democracy, and to work together to build a world in which democracy flourishes and the dignity and rights of all people are protected.
'Copenhagen Declaration on Democracy: a humanist value', Humanists International, World Humanist Congress, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2023